TN: Cote-Rotie, Burg, Qba, Copa Santa

Sunday we went to dinner at some friends' apartment. They're not wine people at all, they had open a bottle of Brotherhood Winery Pinot Noir (I didn't note a vintage). Light and simple, blind I'd have guessed a mediocre gamay. But that is an achievement compared to most wines I had previously tried from "America's Oldest Winery", most of which scarcely tasted like wine. C+/B- I had carried along the 1997 Dom. Clavel La Copa Santa (Languedoc). Served with roast beef, an interesting salad with lots of seaweed, rice, and roasted veggies. Big ripe blackberry fruit, some interesting earthy/mushroomy notes in along with the mocha/oak notes. Sad to see my last one go. B+
Monday we had some friends over for dinner. For appetizers, I served a duck liver paté and grilled some very garlicky shrimp. First starter wine was the 2003 Cantalupo Il Mimo (Colline Novaresi) rosé. Nose of flowers and a hint of nebbiolo tar, sweet raspberry fruit with an intriguing mineral finish. B+ from me and a "wow " from our friends Dolores & Hilary, but a "eh" from Betsy. More in line with the shrimp was the 2002 Dönnhoff Riesling Qba. Lovely light wine, mild sweetness, white nectarine fruit and a pleasantly stoney finish. Another B+
Betsy had found some fresh figs still available, decided to go with a repeat of a recent grilled fig recipe before they all gone. Delicious duck breast (browned on grill then baked at low temp) with a sauce of grilled fresh figs and onions in red wine. She also made mashed potatoes, and served the duck over greens. I decanted the 1991 Clusel-Roch Côte-Rôtie from a fair amount of sediment. I was a little worried re this bottle, and solitary purchase few years ago at a store that I don't have a relationship with, and whose storage I have no knowledge of. At first I thought my fears well-founded, little on the initial nose but dead leaves and mushrooms. But the fruit stirred a bit, and we ended up with a very mature but drinkable Rhône. It actually held together well as we dined and talked for several hours (beautiful night on the patio). Modest berry fruit, but interesting secondary aromas of smoked meats, forest floor, and spice. My guess is an optimally stored bottle might be better, but this still got a B/B+ from me. Since duck was involved , my backup bottle was a Burg, the 2000 Frederic Esmonin "Clos Prieur" Gevrey-Chambertin. Light and simple, bright cherry fruit and little more. Some time brought out a little earth, but ultimately an adequate but slightly disappointing cheap Burg. B- One friend also brought a bottle, the 2002 Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon (California). Extremely sweet/overripe black plum and blackcurrant fruit, good dose of oak, soft and ripe. Did I say ripe? Couple folks really liked this, I'd give a C+, but if your tastes run more towards ripe/oaky wines I think you'd rate this higher. Fun night, sitting on the patio. The only problem is when someone realizes it's 11:45, and we're all working next day. About 1 AM before I finished dishes.Errggghh.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency
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